Shropshire Star

Loco with touching connection to Severn Valley Railway to visit for festival

A locomotive with a poignant connection to the Severn Valley Railway is to visit the line later this year.

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73119 will make a guest visit to the Severn Valley Railway in May. Photo: Ian Grey

The Class 73 diesel-electric loco, No. 73119 is named after Paul Taylor, a supporter of both the heritage railway and the Class 50 Alliance which is based at Kidderminster on the SVR.

Paul died in 2022 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Before he died he helped raise almost £150,000 for Prostate Cancer UK thanks to a four-day rail tour across the UK.

The loco, which was renamed in his honour last year, will visit the railway as part of its Spring Diesel Festival, which is being held from Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19.

A total of 49 Class 73 locos were built between 1962 and 1967, and 39 of these still survive. Design to run on routes with a third electric rail to power trains, they're also fitted with a diesel engine to allow them to operate anywhere.

“This feature makes them incredibly versatile, “explained the SVR’s managing director, Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster, “Although, as you might expect, they’re very low-powered when operating on diesel power. However, that’s not something to concern us at our event, because this will be about the sheer curiosity value of operating a locomotive like this on a heritage line.

No. 73119 is owned by main line operator GB Railfreight (GBRf), where Paul was a senior manager. The loco was named at London Waterloo on July 1 last year by his widow, Tracey.

“Paul Taylor, whose name the loco carries, was a dear friend to me and many others associated with the SVR, and we are especially pleased that GBRf have agreed to the appearance of 73119," added Mr Dunster.

Paying tribute to Paul, Dave Redbourne, a member of the Fifty Fund, another group based at the SVR, said: "Paul was quite high up in GBRf, and played no small part in ensuring that GBRf provided locos for preserved railways diesel events, because he understood how the right engines put bums on seats.

“He was also one of the team that organised a series of epic GBRf charity rail tours, which raised incredible sums of money.

"He was a lovely, lovely man, and I miss him dearly."